Most of the world’s top hotels have Presidential Suites, but here in Washington DC, the title really fits. Naturally, these properties were reluctant to share too much about their past guests, but we dug up the goods on which heads of state rested upon the perfectly-fluffed pillows of the town’s most exclusive hotel rooms...
The Mayflower Renaissance, Washington DC
Proclaimed by President Truman to be Washington D.C.'s "Second Best Address", this luxury property on the National Registry of Historic Places dates back to 1925 and is a Historic Hotel of America. The 10th floor Presidential Suite offers over 2,200 square feet of luxury, with a skylight bearing the state seals for the original thirteen states and a floor inlaid with a glass Great Seal of the United States. (Perhaps the suite’s security-minded details accounted for House Members’ choice of this room to interview Monica Lewinsky during President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial.)
Who Slept Here: The Mayflower has hosted countless presidents and heads of state, such as Jimmy Carter and Harry Truman, US Presidents; Benjamin Netanyahu – Prime Minister of Israel; Bertie Ahern – Former Taoiseach, Ireland; Pervez Musharraf – Former President of Pakistan; Teodoro Obiang – President of Equatorial Guinea.
The Hay-Adams, Washington DC
This exclusive luxury hotel hosts many presidents and heads of state and strives to welcome guests with a private mansion atmosphere. Featuring stunning views of the White House, Washington and Jefferson Memorials, the 1,400sq ft two bedroom Presidential Suite has a dining table that seats eight guests, an ornamental corner gas-lit fireplace, and windows overlooking Lafayette Park and St. John's Church.
Who Slept Here: President Obama and his family rather famously stayed a fortnight at The Hay-Adams before the inauguration in 2009 when the traditional digs for incoming First Families were booked to a longtime Bush-ally, the former Australian PM. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair and Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell were also noted to be guests, among many others.
The St. Regis, Washington DC
The exquisite lobby and bar invite guests to linger under the crystal chandeliers, with a nightly “welcome the evening” Champagne Sabering Ceremony, before retiring to Alain Ducasse's Adour, where President Obama has been spotted dining on a number of occasions. The lavishly decorated 2,510 square foot Presidential Suite – its foyer adorned with hand painted wallpaper from China and bed sumptuously covered in Pratesi linens – features an enormous high-ceilinged sitting room with two fireplaces.
Who Slept Here: Having hosted nearly every American president since Coolidge cut the grand opening ribbon in 1926, this hotel is also a favorite amongst visiting royalty (Queen Elizabeth II is said to enjoy the property) and international heads of state. Check the sofas for footmarks; Tom Cruise is among the A-List celebs that enjoy the presidential suite (Mick Jagger also apparently found satisfaction with the luxe digs).
The Jefferson, Washington DC
This elegant hotel is a haven for politicos and top tier celebs who come here not to be seen. The Thomas Jefferson Presidential Suite features original art dating back to its namesake’s era, hand-cut Italian stonework, fireplace, silent housekeeping alert at the touch of a button, a canopy master bed, five Juliet balconies with views of the Washington Monument and in-mirror bathroom televisions to keep abreast of the latest CSPAN goings on while shaving. Further nods toward Jefferson extend to seasonal menus highlighting authentic Monticello’s garden bounty, although spotting power players and diplomats at neighbouring tables might distract from the fabulous food.
Who Slept Here: With so many heads of state remaining loyal repeat guests, staff stayed mum when pressed for names…but a little digging suggests King Faisal from Saudi Arabia, the Queen of Denmark and ex-PM Gordon Brown are among the long list of visitors. It’s also been said that President H.W. Bush chose his cabinet members within the hotel’s meeting rooms after the 1988 election. Rumor has it President Obama is such a frequent visitor for events, they have renamed one of the four secret entrances after him.
Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Washington DC
A short stroll from Capitol Hill and the famous D.C. monuments, The Mandarin Oriental’s location makes it ideal for visiting dignitaries to attend political obligations. The 3,500 square foot Presidential Suite’s panoramic city views can be enjoyed from two private balconies, and a marble entry with grand piano leads to the suite’s impressive 25-foot-high great room. Stylish modern décor and an elegant dining room allow for memorable private meals overlooking the Washington Monument, though access to the hotel's private Tai Pan lounge provides an alternative option for after dinner drinks.
Who Slept Here: Though less politically minded than the President of South Africa or former British PM Gordon Brown, who are said to have stayed here – the Pitt-Jolies and JayZ-Beyonces of the world have also favoured this suite. As it turns out, having a staff that represents nearly 60 countries offers the ability to both communicate and address cultural concerns from a true place of experience…such as how to operate the rainforest shower or run the perfect bath in the infinity-edge tub.
Virgin Atlantic operates direct flights to Washington DC from London Gatwick, Manchester and Glasgow
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About the author: SaschaZugerSascha Zuger
Sascha Zuger is the author of several Moon Handbook and Spotlight guidebooks. Her work has been seen in National Geographic Traveler, The Washington Post, The LA Times, Food Network Magazine, Parenting, SELF, Gourmet, WIRED, and a number of other national magazines. She also writes novels for teens under pseudonym, Aimee Ferris.